What is Science Decks?
Science Decks is home to a collection of science playing and trading cards that we hope will offer entertainment and education in both informal and formal settings. This all came about from a desire to create an outreach product we could use to teach about how diverse aquatic molluscs are. We wanted a single tool we could use to reach a range of ages, from elementary to graduate students. Coloring books and workbooks aren’t uncommon as outreach tools, and they serve the purpose well, but even the best designed of them limit the audience to a narrower age range than what we wanted to target.
After some brainstorming we settled on a deck of playing cards. Accessible and fun for ages 4 through 104+, a deck of cards seemed to be a versatile medium. Of course, the small size of each card and numerous other design limitations also makes the playing card quite a challenge. Our initial deck of playing cards, Molluscan Diversity, was created to help teach the diversity of forms and behaviors in marine molluscs. It has been tested and used in undergraduate marine biology courses at two major universities, in high schools and middle schools, and in outreach programs aimed at elementary students, all with great success.
As a regular deck of high quality playing cards, these decks can be used for just about any card game from Auction 45′s (The National Game of Nova Scotia according to the Official Rules of Card Games 60th Edition) to Go Fish (or Go Clamming, if you prefer!) to War or Whist (for those Jane Austen fans out there). We have also modified several traditional card games for use specifically with our decks. As we come up with more games and decks, they will appear here. We will also occasionally highlight an organism, or group of organisms from one of the decks of cards and provide some general information or recent research about it on our blog pages.
Who is behind ScienceDecks.com
Our core team consists of a half dozen scientists, science illustrators and educators who wanted a different outreach product that could be easily used anywhere in their curriculum. As we develop new products, we consult experts from that field. In our current project (Shhh! It’s a secret, but we’ll be sure to leak bits and pieces as it comes together!) we have several new scientists and education specialists helping make the project fresh, exciting and challenging. Over the next few months, we’ll introduce all the major contributors to the Mollusc project, as well as future projects.